No Dog in This Fight

The conclusion that James Kunstler reaches at the end of his latest column is a great starting point for a realistic analysis of the flood of propaganda we are going to get on the subject of health insurance now that the Republicans’ Senate bill is public.

Here’s how Kunstler ended his article:

“Spare yourself the angst of even worrying about the outcome of the current healthcare debate. It’s not going to get “fixed.” The medical system as we know it is going to blow up, and soon, just like the pension systems across the country, and the treasuries of the fifty states themselves, and the rest of the Potemkin US economy.”

Continue reading

Green Party Endorses Detroit Candidates

Green Party Endorses Detroit Candidates

Wayne County Greens support Mayoral, Clerk, and City Council Candidates

Wayne County, Michigan

On Tuesday, June 13th, the Wayne County Green Party officially endorsed the candidacies of Detroit Mayoral candidate, Ingrid LaFleur; City Clerk candidate, D. Etta Wilcoxon; City Council candidate for the 1st District, James Eberheart Jr; City Council candidate for the 7th District, Joanna Underwood; and City Council At Large candidate Beverly Kindle-Walker.

Continue reading

Michigan’s Cap on Net Metering

Net metering is the cheapest way for anyone to install solar panels on their house. Net metering means that, whenever the solar panels are producing more power than the house is using, the excess electricity is fed into the local energy distribution grid, and the meter on that house runs in reverse during that time.

It’s great for the individual owner, because the owner not only uses electricity produced without paying the electric company for it but also gets credit for any surplus electricity produced. The owner does not need to provide batteries or any sort of storage for electricity proc=duced during the daytime in order to have electricity at night. At night, the house simply uses electricity off of the grid, exactly like houses without solar panels. Continue reading

The Ethics of the Dakota Access Pipeline

Hi everyone,

This was my final paper in my ethics class this past semester & I just thought I’d share my thoughts on this issue.

*Note* I know this does not encompass this entire issue, it was a 6-8 page paper, and I had to write this within some guidelines.

 

THE ETHICS OF THE DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE

Jennifer V. Kurland

Water hoses being sprayed on peaceful protests was a game changer for the Civil Rights Movement when those images were broadcast to the public on TV. When similar, yet more brutal tactics were used on water protectors protesting construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, the media was missing in action. Native people in the United States are victims of genocide from the onset of our country’s founding, and still today struggle for the basic human rights supposedly guaranteed to all people under the Constitution. The Dakota Access Pipeline’s construction against the wishes of the Standing Rock Sioux is just one more injustice piled on to this sordid history. There is no ethical justification that would allow this pipeline to continue decimating the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s ancestral burial grounds and treaty territory.

Continue reading

Pre-Existing Condition

Recently, I got a message from moveon.org that tried to list some common “pre-existing conditions.” Here’s their list:

AIDS/HIV, acid reflux, acne, alcohol or drug abuse with recent treatment, Alzheimer’s/dementia, anorexia, anxiety, arthritis, asthma, bipolar disorder, breast cancer, bulimia, bypass surgery, C-section, celiac disease, cerebral palsy, cervical cancer, colon cancer, congestive heart failure, Crohn’s disease, depression, diabetes, epilepsy, heartburn, hemophilia, hepatitis, high cholesterol, hysterectomy, kidney disease/renal failure, kidney stones, leukemia, lung cancer, lupus, lyme disease, lymphoma, mental health issues, migraines, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, narcolepsy, obesity, obsessive-compulsive disorder, organ transplant, pacemaker, paralysis, paraplegia, Parkinson’s disease, pregnancy, rape, schizophrenia, seasonal affective disorder, seizures, sexual assault, “sexual deviation or disorder,” skin cancer, sleep apnea, stroke, ulcers … and that’s not all.

Continue reading

The Republican Carbon Tax Plan

A group of Reagan and Bush era Republicans, publishing in the name of a newly formed “Climate Leadership Council,” have proposed a national carbon tax and dividend coupled with a “significant rollback” of environmental regulations which seek to limit carbon dioxide emissions. If you want to read their publication directly, it can be downloaded from their website.

The poison pill in this plan is the elimination of environmental regulations. Apparently, it is not enough for them that the American oil and gas industry is exempt from the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking water Act and several other federal laws. (See http://www.frackfreecolorado.com/oil–gas-exemptions-from-federal-laws.html) They also want to eliminate controls on emissions from coal-powered generating plants, mileage requirements for vehicles, and anything else that regulates emissions directly.

They would like to sell us on the notion that the carbon tax can accomplish the task all by itself. In theory, it can, provided the tax is high enough, is applied strictly and with absolutely no exemptions for the military or other government agency, absolutely no exemptions for any nation and absolutely no exemptions for any company or industry. Their publication of course does not mention the possibility of any such exemption.

The possibility of exemptions still exists. Mentioning it would not help sell their idea of “rollback” (i.e., elimination) of environmental regualations. Therefore, it is not mentioned.

There is no actual need to eliminate specific environmental regulations in order to have a carbon tax. There’s nothing inherently incompatible between the two ways of controlling emissions.

For instance, a carbon tax and mileage requirements for vehicles both push in the same direction. A carbon tax and limits on smokestack emissions for coal-burning power plants both push in the same direction. If the carbon tax has compelled automakers to exceed minimum mileage requirements and has forced utilities to shut down coal-burning plants, that’s not really a problem for the goal of reducing emissions.

Let’s picture the situation if environmental regulations have been eliminated, and then there’s a financial/economic crisis similar to to the one that happened in 2008. It did happen in 2008, and restrictions on banking intended to prevent a recurrence are being dismantled, so it’s certainly a possibility that a similar crisis will repeat.

Oh, no! Layoffs! Unemployment! Major companies losing profits and going bankrupt! Stock market crash! We have to take whatever measures are needed to revive the economy immediately! Let’s eliminate the carbon tax! it’s clearly a big drag on the economy!

Hey, there’s a crisis, so this is no time to talk about bringing back environmental regulations. Besides, the agencies that used to do inspection and enforcement have been closed down, technical experts have found different jobs, enabling laws repealed, laws repealed … it’s just impossible to put environmental regulations in place quickly.

In other words, in Phase 1, eliminate environmental regulations because with a carbon tax, they are “not needed.” Then, for Phase 2, eliminate the carbon tax. Mission accomplished.

That is, in my opinion, the intention of the Republican carbon tax plan. A carbon tax is great idea if it is in addition to environmental regulation. It’s a terrible idea if it’s just an excuse to eliminate them.

If anything in current environmental law should be rolled back, it’s  exemptions granted the oil and gas industries.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

What is Our Movement?

Counterpunch has an article worth reading. I’m not entirely clear on why the author insists on a secondary role for what he identifies as identity politics, but the assertion is there. It’s worth discussing.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/02/03/the-left-needs-to-be-a-movement-not-a-bunch-of-lobbyists/

I certainly agree we should direct our energies to a few fundamental issues, rather than protesting every single day about Trump’s latest outrage. Further, we should look very hard for ways to make our demands on those issues effective. What the article recommends is pretty much the opposite of the “Indivisible” approach, which does indeed focus almost entirely on mass lobbying; i.e., pressuring rather than challenging elected officials. Continue reading